Hot Flash! Menopause the Musical now at the Westchester Broadway Theater

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Now on stage at the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford is a musical comedy with an unusual topic.  Menopause the Musical is a 90 minute hilarious comedy that covers such topics as hot flashes, sleeping issues, short term memory loss, mood swings, loss of libido and weight gain.  Who would think these topics would make for a night of laughs?   Jeanie Linders did and 20 years ago as she stood in front of her open freezer door and sang “Hot Flash” to the melody of Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs”, she knew she was on to something and thus was born this show.

The musical takes place in Bloomingdales department store in New York City where we meet four women over 40, the Professional Woman (Donna J. Huntley), Soap Star (Debby Rosenthal), Earth Mother (Megan Cavanagh) and Iowa housewife (Roberta B. Wall).  The four over 40 women cross paths by accident in the store and begin to learn about each other and their struggles with “the Change”.

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Each musical number is based on an actual song from the 1960s, 70s and 80s with the lyrics changed to embrace the play’s topic.  The familiarity of the songs allows the audience to instantly embrace the music.  As the four women bond and make their way through the department stores floors, they belt out one musical number after another.  Famous songs like “Chain of Fools” becomes “Change, Change, Change“,  “Stayin Alive” becomes “Stayin Awake/Night Sweats”,  and “My Guy” becomes the very funny “My Thighs”.   This is just a sampling of the creative way that existing songs have been adapted to this comedy.

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The 90 minute show with no intermission rolls along as the ladies belt out one hit after the other.  The opening night audience appreciated the comedic timing and talented vocals of the cast.  The show allows women to bond over their common experience. The cast at the finale, invites women in the audience to join them on stage for the last number.

The actors, all member of Actors Equity Association,  have numerous stage credits to their names.  Megan Cavanagh (Earth Mother) has appeared in such films as ” A League of their Own” and “Robin Hood Men in Tights”.  She has been performed in this show since 2004.  Donna Huntley (Professional Woman) has Broadway, off Broadway, and television credits.  Debby Rosenthal (Soap Star) has performed in numerous regional theater productions and television.  Roberta B. Wall (Iowa Housewife) has appeared on Broadway in Sister Act, and Leap of Faith.  Her numerous credits include regional theater.

This play is great for a girls night out, though the numerous men in the audience appeared to fully enjoy the show as well.  The show runs through Sunday March 24th.

for tickets and information: https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York

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Phantom: the magic and music haunt the Westchester Broadway Theater

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Every once in awhile a musical comes along that is brilliant for both the drama of its story and the quality of its musical score.  Phantom now at the Westchester Broadway Theater is such a show.  This amazing musical which first ran at WBT in 1992 was a smash hit with over 120,000 theater goers experiencing the magic of this performance.  This revival is just as good as that original production.  This show has been called the greatest Broadway musical  never that was never on Broadway.  I agree.

Phantom written by Tony Award winners,  Arthur Kopit and music/lyrics by Maury Yeston  is based on the 1911 book “Phantom of the Opera”  by Gaston LeRoux.   This musical which was first developed in the 1980s is not to be confused with  Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘s Phantom of the Opera.  This production is written in the classic Broadway musical style (words and songs) as opposed to Webber’s which has no speaking parts. The story is similar and draws inspiration from the novel, but they are not the same.  This production of Phantom has been applauded for being more a true Broadway musical and for the quality of the music and the way the characters have been more developed.

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The story opens with a young woman , Christine selling her songs on the street of 19th century Paris.  Her charm and voice capture the attention of Count Phillippe De Chandon  who is a patron of the Paris Opera House.  He sends her there to learn voice lessons in the hope she will join the company.  Her dreams are derailed as new ownership of the opera house instead hires her to work in the costumes department.  The Opera House has long been rumored to be the location of a ghost, The Phantom of the Opera.  Though the new owners scoff at the idea, they are soon convinced when one of their staff is murdered.

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Hearing Christine  sing, the Phantom finally reveals himself to her   (with his famous mask on) and offers to give her voice lessons.   She accepts and as her vocal talents grow, so does a relationship between Christine and the Phantom (Erik) deep under the Opera House.  But as Christine’s star rises in the Opera House so does jealousy and the owner Carlotta plots to ruin her budding career.  It will be the Phantom who comes to her side to save her, though we learn that this relationship is not to be.

The story has great characters, and is filled with both light moments and heavy drama.  Casting for the show is brilliant with Kayleen Seidl taking on the role of Christine (a role originated by Glory Crampton). She charms the audience as she moves effortlessly across the stage. When she sings, her amazing vocal performance soars through the theater capturing and lifting the audience.  On opening night we witnessed a future Broadway star on the Westchester stage.

Matthew Billman wonderfully plays the dramatic and tragic role of the Phantom and though we never see his face under the mask, we feel his anguish and pain.  His vocals too were impressive and commanding.  A  fantastic cast with Broadway, off Broadway and regional  credits include James Van Threuren (Gerard Carriere)  who gives a warm and touching performance, Sandy Rosenberg as Carlotta who brings not only her vocal talent but some lightness to this drama.  The rest of the cast is fantastic, but the evening belongs to Kayleen Seidl and Matthew Billman with their touching performances and their soulful renditions of this amazing musical score.

Maury Yeston’s music and lyrics are memorable.   Songs such as “Melodies de Paris” are light, flowing and are so catchy that they will stay with you for many years. That is very effective song crafting.   Christine and Phantom’s duet of “ Home” is the one of my favorites or the evening, and is exquisite in its delivery.  The  most dramatic numbers of the evening belong to “You are My Own“, and finally “You are Music” delivered by Ms. Seidl at the conclusion of the show which ranks as one of the most moving musical numbers and performances I  have heard in recent memory.   It truly is a brilliant score.

Phantom is a fantastic show with a talented cast.  Costume design was elaborate and perfectly captured 19th Century Paris.  The amazing set design is a large part of the spectacle on stage.  Complete with balconies, suspended cat walks, a chandelier that crashes to the stage, and of course the elevated stage that appears and disappears and serves as the underworld lair of the Phantom.  Throw in dramatic lighting, fog machines, an underground lagoon and a boat that moves across stage.  The audience was amazed.

The production of this special show runs through November 25th.  Then it will pause and resume December 27th to January 27th.  A three course dinner is included in your ticket price and you dine prior to the show.

See Yeston and Kopit’s Phantom now!

for tickets and information:

https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford NY

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Christmas Inn: a musical to put you in the holiday spirit at the Westchester Broadway Theater

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A fun and light hearted holiday musical, “Christmas Inn” has come to the Westchester Broadway Theater for a limited engagement.   It is the story of a partnership and friendship of two entertainers who leave Ireland with the hopes of making it big in America.  The story fast forwards two generations to the grandsons of the two men who are also an musical entertainment act.  However the grandsons have split up and the only bond remaining is the fact that they both are partners in an inn in Sharon Connecticut called the Christmas Inn.

Bill Brewer (Kilty Reidy) arrives at the Inn with his son, Sam (Nick Varricchio) just before Christmas to stage the annual Christmas show at the Inn.  However the Inn has seen better days, and it is also about to host Buddy Baker (Jayson Elliot) the estranged partner of Bill.  The audience discovers that Buddy as majority partner has plans to sell the Inn to developers who intend to forever close its doors.   Will the Inn be saved and will the spirit of the holidays warm the heart of Buddy?

The cast includes Maxine the innkeeper (Ann-Ngaive Martin) who adds comedy to her scenes including her alcohol tinged performance of the “12 Daze of Christmas”.  Also impressive is Sara Cline (Linda Baker) who provides the evening with some of the best vocal performances.

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The rest of the talented ensemble of Holly Googe, Joel Pellini, Daniel Scott Walton and Gabriella Perez (prior on the WBT stage in Man of Lamancha and Showboat) sing and dance their way through the numerous Christmas songs that make up the musical.

The character of 10 year old Josie Evans (Molly Siena Culot/Ruby Griffin) is an important one in bridging the divide between the partners.  Her solo performance at the end of Act 1 was inspiring.

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The light hearted musical is filled with Christmas carols that are woven throughout the story.  At the finale, the cast invites the audience to sing a long in some Christmas tunes.

A fun evening and perfect to put you in the holiday spirit.

Ticket Prices Dinner & Show range between $56.00 and $84.00 PLUS TAX depending on the performances chosen. Beverage Service & Gratuities are not included in the ticket price. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. Also check the website for on-going Special Offers! The show is playing through December 23rd  2016

for more information  and tickets

Westchester Broadway Theater    

  tel  914 592-2222

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford NY

http://www.broadwaytheatre.com

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You should be Dancing! Saturday Night Fever comes to the Westchester Broadway Theater stage

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Saturday Night Fever,the musical comes to the Westchester Broadway Theater stage.  This musical adaption of the 1977 movie which starred John Travolta was adapted for the stage and premiered in London in 1998 and on Broadway in 2000.  It has enjoyed numerous tours, and revivals around the world.  It now comes to Westchester and runs through January 29, 2017.

The story (inspired by  a 1975 article in New York Magazine by Nik Cohn) follows the life of 19 year old Tony Manero (Jacob Tischler) of Brooklyn, who lives with his family in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  He is stuck in a job with no future and is caught up in the economic malaise that was the late 1970s.  With his father laid off from his job and his brother questioning his path into the priesthood, Tony and his friends turn to dancing as their escape.

We follow Tony’s exploits as he displays his talents on the floor of the 2001 Odyssey club where he absorbs the admiration of his fellow club goers.  Here he meets Stephanie Mangano (Alexandra Matteo) a 20 year old dancer who has moved away from the neighborhood to Manhattan where she is looking to transform herself.  Tony is intrigued by her dancing ability and her boldness in leaving Brooklyn and her old life behind.  They find as they practice for a dance contest that they have more in common then they originally thought.

 

Tony’s gang of friends and his family are all woven into the story as well as Tony discovers he really is “going nowhere” and must make decisions about his future.

The musical score including all the Bee Gees hits (“Staying Alive”, “Jive Talking”, “You should be Dancing”, Night Fever” ) are all here including songs not in the movie.  The arrangements of some of the songs have been changed which makes them fresh and more interesting and in some cases the lyrics have more impact in the context of the story.

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Set design by Michael Bottari makes full use of the WBT stage and included are a bridge which spans the back of the stage and frames the story, the Manero’s kitchen which appears from below and then disappears below stage, the disco, and other locals from the story.

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The cast is large with both main players and ensemble singer/dancers.  Michelle Dawson who last appeared in Man of La Mancha returns to the WBT stage  lends her vocal talents to several musical numbers including “Nights on Broadway”.  Lead actors Jacob Tischler and Alexandra Matteo are excellent in every aspect of their performance and the chemistry between them is quite convincing.  Directed by Richard Stafford who does an excellent job bring the characters to life.

All in all a fun musical that is family friendly and is a treat not just for fans of the film but anyone who enjoys a story of struggle,self discovery  and of course great dancing.

Get out your dancing shoes and boogie over to the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford.

(all photos provided by Westchester Broadway Theater)

Tickets (includes dinner) run from $56 to $84 depending on performance date chosen.

For tickets:  

tel:  914 592-2222

http://www.broadwaytheater.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford New York

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Million Dollar Quartet: Rock & Roll history comes to life at the Westchester Broadway Theater

 

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The musical “Million Dollar Quartet” is rocking audiences at the Westchester Broadway Theater.  The international hit musical which ran on Broadway and received three Tony Nominations was inspired by an actual event in Rock and Roll history.  On December 4, 1956, four early Rock and Roll artists just happen to get together at Sun Records Studios in Memphis for a jam session.   The artists that came together that night were Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes), Johnny Cash and a new comer named Jerry Lee Lewis (Great Balls of Fire).   The session which was recorded became rock and roll legend and the four would never play together again.

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The musical is inspired by that fateful evening back in 1956.  The performance is part rock concert,  and part musical.  Inter weaved with all the great Rock and Roll songs from that era is the story of Sun Records,  Sam Phillips and the artists themselves.

Sam Phillips was the owner of Sun Records Studio, a tiny shop  in Memphis. Phillips had an uncanny ability of discovering raw talent.  It was he who discovered and promoted a  young Elvis Presley , Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins,  Jerry Lee Lewis, and later Roy Orbison who would all become some of the biggest stars in early Rock music history.

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The musical takes place entirely in Sun Studios on the evening of December 4, 1956.  The story is narrated by Sam Phillips who sets the scene of that fateful evening.   Carl Perkins has come to the studios with his brother and their drummer to work on a new record.  Sam Phillips has brought in a new talent, a feisty and unpredictable Jerry Lee Lewis to play piano on the track.  Later Johnny Cash drops in to discuss his contract renewal with Sun Records.  Eventually Elvis and his girlfriend stop by (Elvis at this point has moved on to RCA records)  and the jam session begins.   The stage design is brilliant and depicts the studio and recording room of Sun Records, and really transports the viewer back in time.  Very effective.

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The audience not only learns some of the history of these important artists, but are treated to a lively concert of great hits including, Blue Suede Shoes, Great Balls of Fire, Matchbox, Fever, Whole lot of Shakin’ Going on, Folsom Prison Blues and more.  The cast shows off its talents at acting, singing and playing guitar or piano.  The actors are not trying to actually impersonate or imitate the original artists.   Their performances are more inspired by the actual artists which allows their talents to really shine.  The performance was fantastic and the cast received a standing ovation from the opening night crowd.

The production stars Dominique Scott as Jerry Lee Lewis , Ari McKay Wilford as Elvis Presley, Sky Seals as Johnny Cash, Jason Loughlin as Sam Phillips, John Michael Presney as Carl Perkins, and Bligh Voth as Dyanne (girlfriend of Elvis).  Rounding out the cast are Sam Weber as the stand up bass playing Jay Perkins, and David Sonneborn as Fluke.  Set Design by Derek McLane .

Directed by Hunter Foster, who appeared in the original cast. The musical director is David Sonneborn.

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Photo from the original jam session 1956

Million Dollar Quartet runs through September 11, 2016

Discounts available for groups (20 or more)

Dinner (salad, entree and dessert) is served prior to the performance and is included in the purchase price.    Wine and cocktails available at additional cost.  Luxury Boxes are also available for groups of 6 to 20.

For ticket information:

Westchester Broadway Theater

1 Broadway Plaza

Elmsford New York 10526

http://www.broadwaytheater.com

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The Impossible Dream: Man of La Mancha returns to Westchester

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The masterful Broadway classic Man of La Mancha has returned to the stage here in Westchester. This beautifully staged production at the Westchester Broadway Theater is Broadway quality and should not be missed!

Man of La Mancha is a musical inspired by the story of Miguel de Cervantes imprisonment during the Spanish Inquisition and is also inspired by his book Don Quixote written in 1615. The musical adaptation places Cervantes in a dungeon prison awaiting his hearing for charges brought against him by the inquisition. Cervantes is a self described poet and play wright  as well as a tax collector. His latter position and his act of taxing a church has placed him in prison. His fellow prisoners upon meeting Cervantes and his loyal sidekick decide to have their own “mock trial” and seize his manuscript.

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Cervantes demands the opportunity to defend himself and using his skills as an actor and a trunk full of costumes and props, he launches into a virtual “play within the play”. Along with his sidekick Sancho, the other prisoners become part of this story woven by Cervantes. Cervantes spins the tale of a noble knight on a noble quest, and he becomes Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha. Despite living in an era of fear and despair, Quixote is a dreamer. He dreams of a world where knights still roam spreading virtue and morals, performing noble quests and coming to the aid of their Lady.
Quixote is a idealist and a dreamer and the audience (as it has been since its Broadway debut in the 1960s) becomes a fan of Quixote. His idealism for a simpler and kinder world is in stark contrast to the reality of 16th Century Spain. Indeed his spirit and ideals in the face of grim reality  are what attract so many current audience members .

His idealism is manifested brilliantly in the song “The Impossible Dream” which is the hallmark of the performance.

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This production at the Westchester Broadway Theater is Broadway quality. Directed by David Wasson (who worked on the first Broadway revival) , it stars Paul Schoeffler as Cervantes/Quixote. He is brilliant especially in the role of the mad knight Quixote and his deep vocals do justice to the music. He has starred on Broadway in Rock of Ages, Sweet Charity, Hook and others. Michelle Dawson is wonderful as Quixote’s lady Dulcinea and her vibrant vocal performance is memorable. The rest of the cast does a great job in bringing the performance to life .

Special note should be given to the Set and costume designers Michael Bottari and Ronald Case and the wonderful lighting design by Andrew Gmoser.
Man Of La Mancha runs to May 1, 2016. Do not miss this Broadway classic. Dinner is included with your ticket price and you dine prior to the performance.

Westchester Broadway Theater
1 Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York 914 592-2222
http://www.westchesterbroadwaytheater.com
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